Czech Republic: 47 charged so far over anti-Romani unrest in České Budějovice
Police have so far charged 47 people in connection with last year's unrest at the Máj housing estate in České Budějovice. Some have already been given suspended sentences.
The unrest at the town's biggest housing estate occurred from June through August of last year, when several anti-Romani demonstrations and marches were held there. South Bohemian Police spokesperson Jiří Matzner told the Czech News Agency today that most of the people apprehended were charged with assaulting public officials.
Police detained a total of 224 people during the unrest. Detectives say a total of 11 protest actions took place last summer there.
Most of those events targeted the Romani community at Máj. A total of nine police officers were injured during the demonstrations and protest marches.
Matzner said there are still more people to charge in relation to the unrest. People have also filed several complaints against the police over their crowd management tactics.
"Those complaints concerned, for example, collapsible truncheons that plainclothes officers are said to have used when intervening. The complaints, however, are not about members of the South Bohemian Police, most of them are about officers with the reinforcements who came to help us from other regions," South Bohemian Police director Radomír Heřman said.
Those attending the assemblies and protest marches last year said they were bothered by the coexistence situation at the Máj housing estate. More than 20 000 people live there, including what is evidently the largest Romani minority community in the town.
The demonstrations and protest marches were attended by right-wing radicals from all over the country. The situation at the housing estate became tense at the end of June, when local children got into a conflict on the playground which was subsequently joined by about 100 adults.
Several demonstrations and protest marches then followed which deteriorated into street fighting. Police initially detained several dozen people, charging 10 of them immediately.
Another eight people have since been charged over the conflict at the playground. The South Bohemian Police handled a total of 15 020 crimes last year, 1 015 more than in 2012, most of them in the České Budějovice area.
More than half of all cases in the South Bohemian Region involved property. Six murders also took place in South Bohemia last year, all of which were solved by detectives.
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